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  • Writer's picturedennisharris04

Limiting Beliefs Are Like The Common Cold

Updated: Aug 21, 2022

Limiting beliefs are like the common cold, they creep up out of the blue, make you feel like crap and can be hard to get rid of. Unlike the common cold, limiting beliefs can be worked on, managed, and explored to the point where we may be able to push past them for ourselves. There is a better chance of finding a cure for that, than the common cold. So at least that is some good news.

Have you heard people say things like,” I can’t dance, I have two left feet”? Maybe those lol people should dance like nobody's watching, a phrase you have probably heard before. The point is both things happen, limiting beliefs develop a lot of times because we don’t want to get hurt or embarrass ourselves and we certainly don’t want to come up short in anything. It’s easier to not try something than to have it blown up in our face and have it turn into this monumental thing that we can never recover from. I think most things are not the mountain climb that we make them into, and I do believe that most things you can recover from.

I’m no psychologist, but I don’t think you can put limiting beliefs down to any one moment or person and how each of us develops them. I think it’s a mindset that forms over time because each time we are faced with a situation where limiting beliefs are not managed properly, eventually they will take over every new challenge we might face. Think of it as a snowball that you can keep adding to each time you freeze up, to the point where it is a big frozen ball of nerves when it comes to trying something. Instead of embracing the challenge head-on, we start going through a list of limiting beliefs. So how can we manage that before it becomes a brutal hurdle? How can we stop it from killing living our dreams and even simple things like having fun with making a fool out of yourself when you dance.

I think it starts with learning how to manage it and developing a process that you can approach each situation with. Some things will be small, and others will be life-changing, but let’s start with the small things because if you ignore them, remember the snowball. Think of a time when you wanted to do something like take a cooking class, and you stopped yourself because up to that point you had little to no success when cooking. Why? Did you take the time to learn? Did anyone take the time to show you? Take the class and if the first dish you turn out is terrible, it is not life-ending. So if you didn’t die, retrace your steps to find the step you missed or fell short. Before you don’t take the class because of a limiting belief you have of yourself cooking or one that someone put there, ask yourself, will you die if the dish doesn’t turn out perfect? Nope! Think about approaching it in a way that is more constructive, meeting it head-on in the sense you will tell yourself that you will keep cooking that dish until it’s the best anyone has tasted! If you allow yourself to start listening to doubt on any one thing, they will start carrying over to all aspects of your life. Take the class and put that snowball right in the oven while it’s warming up to cook your dish and watch it melt away.

There are some things that are more serious when it comes to the limitations, like people who tell themselves they are not worthy of being loved. That may be put on you by bad parents, a bad relationship, or even yourself because you feel you haven’t found that. Well, unless you are an inherently evil person who is hell-bent on hurting people, I’m here to tell you that is not true. I would like to believe we are all worthy of love in our own unique way, but like everything that needs to be worked on. Stop telling yourself that to start, work on breaking down why you feel that way and when you started. Get to the root and work through it. I have shared some in-depth thoughts on personal worth in my blog titled, “ Alone vs. Lonely “. Limiting beliefs are something that consistently must be worked on in my opinion, because there are so many situations that are different in life and will challenge us. If the serious stuff comes up, work on starting to appreciate yourself no matter what the situation will bring or what people might say. It is far better to live life with an uncomfortable moment once in a while, rather than living your life with regret and resentment. The other thing to remember is even if you are tackling limitations head-on, have built some confidence up and fall back into the trap of letting your doubt get the best of you, don’t beat yourself up. It can happen to any one of us, at any point in life, but make sure you take the time to remember how you felt and why. Then break down everything that happened to the point you realize that your doubts were probably not warranted.

I remember back to a time when I was accepted into the recruiting process for a local police force and part of that process was the physical abilities test. A little training tip, always train harder than the task or test that is expected of you. You have to account for stress on the day of, excitement, and other factors that will drain your energy before you start. The test that I was about to run simulated a chase, a physical altercation with jumps, and a strength test all factored in. I trained very hard for it, it also should not have been as stressful as kickboxing for three minutes rounds against a two-hundred eighty-five-pound man, or my first grueling physical days on the trash trucks. I did both, in fact, I spent my whole life doing physically challenging things. I’m not just giving you my fitness resume but sharing the point that a test that I needed to complete in between 3 and 4 minutes to be competitive, should have not been an issue. The problem that came up for me was I had built it up to what seemed like an unclimbable mountain. The fact that a job that would have been life-changing for me, that is something I was pursuing out of want, instead of necessity, started to get me littering my mind with limiting beliefs.

What if I didn’t complete it? What if my time wasn’t good enough? What if my nerves zapped my energy so I could barely move? I lost sleep the night before, showed up, forgot one of my socks, ended up grabbing my young son's sock, and then ended up putting down the second-best time of the day while the Chief looked on. The Chief walked over and shook my hand. Thankfully because of how hard I trained, and perseverance, the mountain of mental crap I had piled up didn’t take away from me accomplishing my goal. It’s okay to be a little nervous, but I wondered why I put myself through extra anguish over it.

I had done the work, if things didn’t work out, I remembered after that everyone has an off day which will come regardless of whether or not you put more on something than you need to. Agencies will usually give you a second chance if you are a good candidate they invited in the first place. The thing to remember is to work on what you can actually control, believe in yourself when trying something important, new, exciting, and do not worry about what you can’t. You will never be able to control the way people react, or if a bad day pops up.

The thing is a lot of brilliant people, some of who are famous, genius, inspiring, in whatever way they stand for and make a difference, were fed doubt by themselves, or others and had they listened the world would be much less than it is. If they allowed those limiting beliefs to take over and become the way they approached new things, there would be less technology, music, art, space and ocean exploration, and any of the other amazing things in our world. That would be one boring existence!

There are so many ways to learn, explore, and get started on the steps needed to try the things that might embarrass us at first or that might even take our life to the next level. Most of it is at our fingertips. Can you think of a time you had beliefs that held you back? Did you learn from it? If you didn’t, go back and think about how you would do it differently. Do not look at it with regret, but as a tool, you can use the next time you are faced with a similar situation. In anything you do, the first time or first day is always the hardest. Think about it, you have already done the hardest part by showing up and rising to the occasion. A lot of people do not like change, because of that first step, but if you can teach yourself to embrace it, what an experience your life could be…

Working on appreciating yourself, and changing your mindset will more than likely take care of both the small and large limiting beliefs that might be holding you back. Trust that we are all capable of more than we are doing right now, start out with something simple and start building an explorer-type spirit for yourself. The nice thing is, for whatever you're trying to get past, there is probably someone who has been through it. Do not be afraid to share or ask questions, we all need a guide or two along the way.

Remember this before you try something, if you give yourself an exit, you will use it. Go in with the attitude that you can do it, put your best foot forward and accept however it turns by learning from it and carrying that lesson forward. Most times we make our limiting beliefs more than they have to be…

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